Macy and Anna Save Candyland Bite 15
Lunch with a New Friend
Around lunchtime they reached the most beautiful lake that Macy had ever seen. It was sparkling blue, and surrounded by purple rock. Not too far from shore Macy spotted a small island with a gazebo. Peter noticed her looking at it.
"This lake freezes over in the winter," he told her. "It is even more beautiful then. Queen Frostine used to have the most festive skating parties out here. A band played in the gazebo, warming tents would be set up along that edge of the lake." He pointed at the eastern shore. "The tents were filled with benches and tables and good things to eat. People would skate and eat and laugh until they were too exhausted to even stand upright."
"I came to one of the skating parties," Lily said. "You were there too, weren't you, Mr. Mint?" She had called him Mr. Mint all day, Macy noticed. No more Pfeffer this, and Pfeffer that.
"That was a long time ago," Mr. Mint replied. "A happy time for us all." He fell silent, remembering. Slowly a blush spread across his face. Macy glanced at Lily to see if she had noticed. To her surprise, Lily was blushing as well. What in the world? Macy thought. She didn't have time to comment though because just then they heard a shout.
"Halloo, Travelers! Halloo!" A woman was walking around the lake toward them. She was tall and willowy, with long ash blonde hair and a flowing, sparkly, pink dress. They waited for her to catch up to them. Suddenly Lily jumped off her horse.
"Frostine!" She cried, running up to the woman and throwing her arms around her. "It is so good to see you again! It has been far too long."
"That's Queen Frostine?" Macy asked Peter. "She looks far too young to have grown children."
"Oh, no." Peter said. "Queen Frostine passed away some time ago. That is Princess Frostine, sister to Hershey and Bazooka." The princess and Lily approached them.
"Everyone, I want you to meet my dear friend, Princess Frostine!" Lily introduced each one to Frostine. "We've been friends since my first skating party." Again a blush crept across her cheeks as she went on. "We don't get to see each other very often though. What are you doing here, Frostine?"
"I came to retrieve a few things from the small house we keep near the lake." Frostine responded. "There are a few things of my mother's I wanted to have on hand for the celebration."
"Have you come on your own?" Alexander asked, a hint of worry in his voice. Macy shot him a sharp look. Was that more than worry?
"Yes. I knew it would be faster that way. Actually, I didn't even tell my father I was coming. I knew he wouldn't let me if he knew. I figured I could be here and back in a little more than 24 hours, but once I got here I started to realize what a dangerous thing I had done. I was just asking God to protect me when I heard you all coming up the road. I knew my prayers were answered. Can I travel with you?"
"Yes!" Alexander said, a bit too loudly in Macy's opinion.
"My horse and my things are just over there," Frostine pointed to a stand of trees near the rocks of the shore. "I'll mount up and we can be off."
"Actually, we haven't had lunch yet," Macy said. "Let's all stop here for a brief lunch." Their group now numbered nine. They spread out on the grassy strip between the road and the beach to enjoy a simple lunch.
The sun had just crested its midpoint in the sky when they finished packing up their belongings and headed out.
"Let's ride until dark and then make camp," Alexander had clearly established himself as leader of their little band. "We should arrive at Kandy Castle sometime around noon tomorrow."
They rode along in companionable silence for some time. Soon Anna piped up,
"Please, call me Frostine." the princess broke in. "All that 'Princess' stuff gets a bit cumbersome. Plus, I'd like to think that each of you will be my friends. I like my friends to be less formal."
"Very well, Frostine." Anna grinned. "Please tell us a story of your skating parties. They sound so fun!"
"My mother had me in skates when I was just barely walking. I'd wobble around and she would sail on skates as if she were flying. My brothers teased me about not being able to stay upright, but it didn't take long before I got the hang of it.The first skating party I was allowed to attend came in my eighth year. That was Lily's first year too, wasn't it Lily?" at Lily's nod, she went on. "And as I recall, Pfeffer was there too." She gave Mr. Mint a sly look. "He was much older than us and couldn't be tempted to skate with the children, no matter how much we teased."
"My legs aren't really made for skating," Mr. Mint said with a blush, glancing down at his long legs. "They were even worse then, as an adolescent who hadn't quite grown into them yet."
"Well, anyway," Frostine went on, waving away Mr. Mint's words with a short movement of her hand. "Lily and I teased and pestered and cajoled the boys unmercifully. We thought we were the hottest item at that party. We did finally convince some of the older boys to skate with us, though I know Lily wasn't as interested in any of them." Anna stole a glance at Lily. Her friend was a bright cherry red, her eyes focused on the road ahead of them. Anna grinned. It looked like her suspicions were right about Lily and Mr. Mint.
"The lake was beautiful that year. The snow fell in glittering, powdery piles that shimmered like diamonds if they were disturbed. Mother had outdone herself as well, with lanterns and ice candles and ribbons everywhere. It was like a fairyland. Just perfect for two girls with romantic and fanciful imaginations. There was a string quartet playing ball music, and hot chocolate with mounds of whipped cream for refreshment. Cook made snowflake shaped cookies frosted with blue and white icing." Here she sighed, remembering. "There never has been a more beautiful and enchanting skating party than my first. We really should have another one, eh, Lily? Maybe this time we can convince Pfeffer to skate with us." She smiled mischeviously at her friend. Startled, Lily spoke up,
"Oh, ah, yes! Yes, another skating party. I'd love that. Yes, we should have another one." Her flustered voice rose a bit on the end of her sentence. Anna and Frostine shared a knowing look and smiled.
"Then it's settled," Frostine declared. "When the lake is sufficiently frozen, we will have a party in my mother's honor. With twinkle lights and hot chocolate, and an orchestra. We will put on a party to rival my mother's. You can all come!"
"Trouble ahead," Alexander interrupted, voice tense. On the road in front of them stood a dozen ninjas, dressed in black as before. Anna detected a hint of chocolate scenting the air.
"We must be near Gloppy's swamp," Mr. Mint said in a hushed tone. "Perhaps one of us can get to him. Surely Gloppy will help us."
"I don't think we have time for that." Alexander replied. "Ready yourselves." The group laid their hands on the weapons they had. Mr. Mint tightened his hand on his walking stick. Just then the ninjas parted and through the middle, Gloppy came waddling.
A short, very fat, brown man who oozed a chocolate scent, Gloppy was unlike any other creature Macy had ever seen. She couldn't help staring at the ridiculous figure before them. He didn't have any hair on any part of his body that she could see. His rolls of fat lay one on top of the other until he looked like a blob of chocolate. Even his clothes were brown, billowing out around him and adding to his immenseness. He took a bite of a chocolate bar he held in his hand and spoke around it.
"I didn't think you'd really be stupid enough to be traveling this way. Don't you know there are evil men around?" His black, deep-set eyes glinted. He licked his lips and took another bite of the chocolate. "Don't you know there is a bounty on each of your heads?"
"Sir Gloppy, you will let us pass," Frostine said in her most imperious voice.
Gloppy guffawed, his chocolate rolls bouncing and jouncing. Macy felt her stomach turn. The sight was terrible.
"I will do no such thing." Gloppy spat out, spraying chocolate with the words.
"You have always been a friend of my father. I'm sure if you let us pass, he will overlook this affront to me and my friends." Frostine drew herself up into a regal posture atop her horse.
"Your father," Gloppy said in a menacing tone. "Has NEVER been any kind of friend to me. I shall never again bow to that, that, that clown!"
"Enough!" Alexander shouted, moving in front of Frostine and shielding her with his body. "Allow us to pass or taste the edge of our swords." Gloppy's evil laugh rang out again.
"I think not, Alexander, son of the dead King Mattel. I think you will find it is in your best interest to surrender to me." He raised a hand, not the one filled with chocolate, and made a 'come on' gesture. Behind the traveling group there came a whisper of fabric and movement. Without more than a few hints of sound, another twelve ninjas appeared in the the road behind them. "You are surrounded." Gloppy gleefully shrilled. "Surrender or face the consequences."
"I think we'd better surrender, brother," Cargo said in a low voice. "Surrender and live to fight another day."
"I think you mean, surrender and live to make another plan," Macy retorted. "Surely with a little more time, we can come up with something to conquer these ninjas. We've done it before."
"I agree," Mr. Mint said. "Surrender is not the same as defeat." The rest of the group nodded. They put down their weapons and put up their hands.
"All right, Gloppy," Alexander said. "We surrender." The ninjas cleared away the fallen weapons and grabbed the reins of the horses.
"Come down." Gloppy ordered. "Tie them." When they had dismounted and been trussed up, the group moved down the path. The ninjas kept the friends in a tight bunch and kept changing places in order to not allow themselves to be overpowered.
"Where are you taking us?" Anna called out to Gloppy. Gloppy, moving slowly at the front of the group, turned and said snidely,
"That's for me to know and you to find out!"
"Well, that's real mature." Anna muttered. Eventually the ninjas herded them off the road and onto a small path through a grove of chocolate stick trees. The scent of chocolate was heavy now, the air was warm and sticky with it.
"We must be near to the chocolate swamp," Peter whispered. "The ground here is damp." They came out in a small clearing. Anna groaned. In the center of the clearing stood several cages identical to the ones they had previously escaped from.
"What are we going to do now?" She moaned. "We don't have Cargo and Alexander to rescue us."
"Don't worry," Frostine whispered. "When my father realizes where I've gone, he will send men to search for me. They will find us and set us free."
"I wouldn't be too sure about that," Cargo said, pointing. In the farthest cage they saw a movement. A man was struggling to get to his feet.
"Daddy!" Frostine cried out. She ran to the cage. A ninja moved to stop her, but Gloppy waved him away.
"Let them have their little reunion, it won't matter in a moment."
Frostine clung to the bars of her father's cage.
"Daddy, what happened? How did you get here? Daddy, you're bleeding!" King Kandy looked awful. His clothing was torn in several places and there was a deep gash along his left temple. His normally happy face was covered in dirt and blood. He opened his mouth to answer when a new voice echoed through the clearing.
"I think I can answer that, sister dear." A man stepped forward.